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Publications

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Autocratic legalism in India: A roundtable
Jindal Global Law Review
May 2022

 At a moment when democracy seems to be experiencing an unprecedented level of crisis worldwide, this roundtable focuses on one country, India, to ask what we can learn from its ongoing challenges. The participants take as their starting point Scheppele’s idea of ‘autocratic legalism’, in which constitutional democracies are ‘hijacked by … legally clever autocrats’ who turn democratic institutions and values against themselves. Does autocratic legalism capture developments in India, particularly since 2014? Does the concept help identify weaknesses or untapped potential in Indian democracy? Or does the crisis of India’s democracy reflect different patterns from the autocratic legalism emerging in other parts of the world? Participants consider these and other questions during a conversation that bridges disciplines, geography, and the academy–legal profession divide. 

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Law and Illiberalism: A Sociolegal Review and Research Road Map
Fabio de Sa e Silva
October 2022

In democratic backsliding, threats to democracy no longer come from abrupt, radical ruptures promoted by those who are close to, but outside of, state power. They come from those who win elections and, while in office, systematically undermine accountability institutions and minority rights. Zakaria used the term illiberal democracies to describe these regimes where popularly elected governments are divorced from political freedoms and accountability. Law is not absent from these stories. Rising autocrats seek to make their moves legal and use law—as a weapon or as a shield—in attempts to amass power and suppress opposition. Authors coined the term autocratic legalism to describe these power-grabbing tactics that operate through law. Others use different concepts, such as constitutional retrogression or abusive constitutionalism. I review this growing body of literature and outline a research agenda on the encounters between law and illiberalism.

Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Volume 18 is October 2022.

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Combating Authoritarianism: Will sanctions on Russia be effective?
Natasha Lindstaedt
March 2022

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, countries around the world have imposed an unprecedented array of sanctions. But will these economic weapons compel Putin to change course in Ukraine? Will they lead to political instability and unrest in Russia? Will the sanctions fuel the ambitions of Russian coup plotters? To answer such questions, this paper looks at what can be learned from the literature on sanctions.

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